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Caustic Resin, “Cable”
Caustic Resin grew out of Boise’s ’90s alt-rock underground alongside fraternal twin Built to Spill. Brett Netson played guitar in both bands—and sang in Caustic Resin—until he abandoned his original, heavier outfit for a full-time role in BtS. You can hear the shared DNA in “Cable,” a brooding highlight from the new reissue of Caustic Resin’s 1998 classic The Medicine Is All Gone.
SYML, “Where’s My Love”
For years now, Barcelona has been the kind of ambitious, mainstream-baiting pop band rarely bred in Seattle. SYML, the new project of Barcelona founding member Brian Fennell, bears a similarly poignant melodic sensibility but strips away the flourish for a sound far more intimate, introspective and wounded—and far more interesting.
With their second LP Gems takes a giant, zero-gravity leap forward. Night Music combines conventional and electronic instruments with effortless artfulness, its bountiful musical ideas circumscribed by incisive songwriting. Gems’ two drummers and two keyboardists are a groove engine, generating all-instrumental post-rock jams like this woozy, percussion-heavy lead single.
Jenn Champion, “No One (Crater Remix)”
As if to affirm her newfound embrace of moody synth-pop, folk-rock veteran Jenn Champion enlisted a half-dozen remixers to have their way with her latest single. Crater deepens the original’s somber tone, refracts Champion’s vocal and turns out haunted minimal techno—all in the span of three minutes.
Mackned, “Buy the Pain”
The heartbreak starts with cascading keys, continues through Mackned’s opiated delivery and lands at a gorgeous finale. Backed by the Flavr Blue’s production duo, Mackned bullseyes this bittersweet homage to money, addiction and addiction to money.